Response to SnohoDem (Reply #58)
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 04:56 PM
calimary (35,413 posts)
61. Thank you!
The frustrating thing is - there's SO MUCH MORE!!!
I didn't even get into how that side (led, I believe, by kkkarl rove) deliberately and resolutely went about destroying the credibility of the press. They had a multi-pronged approach, and it was, sadly, rather impressive, pretty damned effective.
1) They installed their own stooge, jeff gannon from the whack-job dude-at-his-computer-in-his-mom's-basement "Talon News" (excuse me, WTF is fucking "Talon News"???? I'm a retired journalist and I worked with a few of the people in the White House Press Corps, and this was blatant CRAP) IN the White House Press Corps who'd feed scott mcclellan and I think ari fleischer before him extreme softball questions, sometimes they were just statements he was venting. And he was thus able to help mcclellan or fleischer steer the line of questioning and manipulate or otherwise influence what other reporters might ask - and they'd hit paydirt every time somebody might take the bait and ask a follow-up. He was a phonied-up rogue, with NO credibility, background, or credentials, but somehow he got White House Press Credentials, AND rather liberal access to visit people in the White House, seemingly every time he wanted them. Secret Service logs often couldn't account for how long he was there, when he actually signed out (sometimes he didn't), where he went or whom he saw. But they sure had soundbites to sink their teeth into - that everybody else in regular and cable TV and radio dutifully took the bait and ran with in all subsequent news cycles.
2) judith miller. What a machine THAT was! New York Times reporter who'd built some prominence already, and she was let in on the stovepiping directly from unvetted intel to the Vice President's office because cheney and libby and his other little friends were routinely going over to the CIA, harrassing them and intimidating them for not coming up with enough credible intelligence to support their wish to go to war with Iraq. They developed the Office of Special Plans, and other entities to stovepipe any and all miscellaneous crap that came in (much of it, I'm sure, already rejected by well-trained career intelligence analysts as bogus or not reliable or from worthless or flaky sources) and bypass the hurdles that info ordinarily had to pass through. Then cheney or libby or somebody would call up judith miller and give her the latest "scoop." They'd time it with an eye toward the weekend. Then she would write it up, citing unnamed high-level White House sources, and there it'd be, on the front page of the SUNDAY New York Times, two-column, above the fold. So then you have this loud, sensational headline in the SUNDAY MORNING New York Times that all the bookers with "Meet the Press" and "This Week" and the other Sunday chat shows would want to jump on. And soon enough you'd have dick himself or contradicta or wolfowitz or rumsfeld or some other White House asshole booked on the shows, and they'd of course be on there to comment/react to the big lead story in the New York Times. And they'd say exactly that. "Well, it's reported in the New York Times and..." So then it would become, if you will, a defacto fact. Instant manufactured alleged "facts." And then the news cycle for the rest of Sunday and into Monday would be all about that manufactured, phonied-up story that they planted with their friendly reporter, the collaborator judith miller, who then got bragging rights for another scoop and another front page byline, so her stock automatically went up in the pecking order around the Washington press corps. Corpse is more like it. And they had lots of friends of lesser stature in the press corps.
3) Astroturfing. Fortunately a few people got wise to this one. Anybody seriously keeping track during that era could not help but start noticing how all these "random" letters to the editor were turning up, written allegedly by concerned taxpayers or citizens, that all said the same thing about whatever issue it was. It'd always be signed by a different name in each paper. But the wording, phrasing, whole paragraphs even, were cut 'n' pasted from one original. BUT IT LOOKED LIKE there were all these citizens, unrelated to each other, who were "concerned" about the same thing - in all kinds of small and medium-sized papers across the country, that editorial boards would see and conclude - "hey, this is a big issue," and "wow, look how many people oppose/support it..." and THAT THEN would be used as "proof" that large swaths of America really DID support the war, or really DID believe women didn't have the right to choose, or some such. It was only thanks to sharp eyes on the internet who started noticing how many Xeroxes these actually were, and how bogus they were.
4) As I referenced above, the "you get your psychiatrists, I'll get mine" ethic. Got lots of scientific data coming out about this global warming thing? Hmmm... the oil companies don't like it much. Well, there's two things we can do: one - opposition research to single out and discredit those in the scientific community, thus costing them legitimacy and credibility; and two - get our OWN "scientists" to come up with rebutting information. And conveniently enough, some of these were already on the payroll at the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute, or could be bought, or had graduated from some cockamamie "university" like Liberty "University" or Regent "University" where they teach subjects like science and law through a Bible filter. And their own cook-the-books scientists come out and are offered to talk shows for bookings, and do get booked, they get their crank messages out and that becomes part of conventional wisdom to the angry old white crank crowd and the ostrich crowd (Proudly Keeping Their Heads Buried In The Sand Since 1978!) who are gullible and have come to rely on these bogus information streams as truth.
5) Pox Noise. Need I say more? Awfully easy to manufacture and sell your own version of "news" when you've got a whole 24/7 cable network to play with! That ground was laid starting at the end of the reagan era in 1987, when the restrictions on corporate ownership of media properties in any one market were lifted. Used to be, while I was still working, an individual or corporate owner could own no more than three properties per market - usually it wound up being an AM radio station and an FM station and a TV channel. They removed the restrictions before reagan's time went out, and that allowed all Hell to break out. Same thing that allowed limbaugh and others to flower. These owners could then own as much as they could afford to snap up, which is how we started getting mega-monopolies like ClearChannel...
It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on...
And we've GOT TO STAY VIGILANT!!! A lot of America still doesn't realize, or accept, that they're being manipulated and lied to. More do by now. Many more in our country are slowly starting, to wise up. But back then, it was utterly HORRIBLE. Almost literally an information brokerage ICE AGE. EPIC snow job. Real true facts consigned to the deep freeze. We're only beginning to thaw.
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